Battle in Seattle (2007) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
53 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Review from Dublin International Film Festival, February 2008
trishgroves14 March 2008
As we settled into our seats in Screen One in the Savoy Cinema, Dublin, Ireland, we wondered how on earth Stuart Townsend could exposit the intricate workings of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to an audience who probably had no idea that it even existed.

We were not disappointed. From the breathtaking opening sequence, to the exhilarating ending, we were on the edge of our seats.

There were some outstanding performances – André Benjamin as Django (from the band Outkast) and Michelle Rodriguez as Lou (best-known in Europe for the TV series 'Lost') in particular were superb as two of the demonstrators. André injected an unfailing sense of humor and light relief into this serious topic, and managed to turn his unusual headgear into a clever statement about endangered species. Michelle gave her character exceptional depth and feeling, and handled a complicated emotional sub-plot with a mixture of both detachment and passion that worked so well on screen.

Charlize Theron played an innocent bystander, Ella, who was trapped in the violent maelstrom, with horrific consequences for both her own character and her character's husband.

During the Q&A with Stuart and Charlize at the end of the movie, an audience member stood up – an employee of the World Bank. She began by saying how cautious she was about coming to a movie about the WTO, but that she had to applaud Stuart for handing such a difficult subject so fairly. Her comments were echoed by a Trade Advocacy officer from a well-known Irish development charity, who congratulated him on creating a movie which managed to be both factually accurate and entertaining.

For anyone who has ever wished that this world was a better place, this movie is a must-see. For everyone else, this is a heart-warming movie about the power of the human spirit to overcome, to work together and to forgive.

(And as a footnote, Stuart gave free passes to the screening to protesters from the Campaign to Save Tara, who are still demonstrating against the construction of a new highway, the M3, in the historical valley at the Hill of Tara in Ireland. Stuart walks his talk.)
62 out of 84 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If this style is the new wave, give me more
Movie-Jay19 September 2007
This docu-drama about the WTO riots in Seattle in 1999 is made in the same style as "Bloody Sunday", "United 93", and "Battle for Haditha": it just shows events in real time without comment. We follow everyone here from the ground up; the protest groups, the cops on the street, their commanders, city officials, a news reporter, and innocent bystanders. Maybe the scenes with the news reporter are the least fleshed out, but that's a fairly minor complaint for a movie that is very involving and entertaining and thought-provoking. Woody Harrelson and Charlize Theron are very good, as usual, and Michelle Rodriguez is perfectly cast. One of the big surprises here is Andre Benjamin, from Outkast fame, who delivers a fine supporting performance; he's irreverent but very smart. Ray Liotta is very effective as the mayor, and the film does a great job of seeing the complexities in elected officials as he struggles to please all sides; he is looking for the protesters to behave while also wanting the WTO to address important issues.

The audience I saw this with at the Toronto Festival gave it an ovation that lasted all through the credits. In terms of pure audience satisfaction, this movie was up there with "Juno" and "Body of War" and "Eastern Promises" as the fan favorites.
66 out of 93 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
VERY Powerful!
knhill-112 September 2008
I was lucky enough to see this film in advance, and it opened my eyes to a few very important issues.

Going in, I'd never even heard of the "battle in Seattle," as I was only 13 years old at the time of the protests. But now that I'm aware of the event, it makes me wonder why the controversies with the WTO aren't still being discussed on a larger scale.

This is something that we should all be concerned about, and Stuart Townsend has done us a favor by introducing the issues in a format that is riveting, informative, and inspirational. If there's one thing Battle in Seattle does best, it's that it fires you up to take action any way you can.

Not to mention the great production values, absolutely stellar cast, and intense action sequences (Intense because they're real! Actual footage was used).

I would highly recommend attending a showing of this film with your family and friends, because these matters are important to us all, and Stuart's presentation of them is nothing short of breathtaking.
40 out of 58 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
brilliantly made and brilliantly acted
I just came back from watching the film at the Toronto International film festival, and I absolutely loved it. It is brilliantly made and brilliantly acted. Stuart Townsend is a very talented man; he is sure to win a few Oscars before the end of his career. Battle in Seattle is a great work which simply tells the story of the WTO riots in Seattle, without an obvious bias (at least in my opinion). The film also uses real footage during some parts which really help those who were not present during the riots see that the film isn't exaggerating how horrific people's actions were (on both sides). I highly recommend this film for anyone who loves films that entertain and teach.
73 out of 114 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Small Steps
jdesando23 September 2008
"Labour itself is but a sorrowful song, The protest of the weak against the strong."

Frederick William Faber

As a liberal, I empathize with the protesters in the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. And I do empathize. The need for world organizations and big companies to consider the health of poorer countries before appropriating their resources is paramount.

In Battle in Seattle, director Stuart Townsend uses the stock devices of the docudrama: smoothly inter-cutting between scenes of police and protesters and expertly interspersing authentic footage with the dramatized. The feel is as if the audience is participant; the dilemma of how far either side should go in keeping the peace or disturbing it is palpable.

The drama is enhanced by fictionalizing the opposing forces through the lens of policeman Dale (Woody Harrelson) and his wife, Ella (Charlize Theron), both caught up in the escalating violence and too neatly tied to the issues of each side. The challenges of the protesters are also too deftly tied to a romance of the leader and a follower.

This facile mixing of truth and fiction leaves me a bit cold, as if I were the victim of a fraud because the reality of the historic event seems trivialized by clichéd romances and tragedies. I am always dismayed by the Michael-Moore-style loading of the left to the exclusion of the right's point of view: What are the purposes of the WTO? Has it been successful? How? These questions are rarely explored any more than the complicated motives and lives of the protesters.

But the docudrama succeeds in illuminating the WTO and its critics. As history has written, little progress has been made during the intervening decade even though the talks were stopped in Seattle. But as one of the combatants points out, only by small steps and persistence can the battle be won. And so went the Battle in Seattle.
27 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Best film I've seen in a long time
karenqb10 March 2008
I knew very little about this subject before watching the film... I expected to learn a little about it during the film and that was my primary reason for attending the screening at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin. Instead, I was blown away by an incredible story that weaves the events in Seattle with several inspiring and complex characters. In an amazing interaction that muddied the waters between the 'good' and 'bad' guys, this script moves you.

The theater cheered and yelled... an ovation throughout the credits in Austin as well... this movie is powerful and inspiring. I absolutely loved the cast as well as the style of film-making. Great work.
31 out of 52 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent film that is well worth the time to see
neimanj23 May 2008
As a member of the Seattle community for nearly 20 years I was here when the WTO protests happened and I found this movie to be extremely powerful. I paid close attention to the events as they occurred in 1999; I even took part in one of the later protests outside a King County Courthouse/Jail. This film uses fictional characters to give perspective on the events both for legal and entertainment reasons and the result is amazing. I watched this film as part of the opening night celebration for the Seattle International Film Festival with nearly 3000 other Seattle area residents and the response was simply astounding. Afterwards in both the Q&A session with the director and part of the cast and the party following, I had the opportunity to hear from some others who were involved in the WTO incidents and no one voiced any disappointment with the way the film handled the issues. I would encourage everyone to see this film as soon as possible; American release is scheduled for September 2008 and I'm sure international release dates will be around the same time.
39 out of 68 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
a half right look at the WTO riots
Spiral_Architect_4201 October 2009
I was at the battle in seattle...all 4 days of it....they cant get the days or times right....the gassing didn't start till after 5 pm in the afternoon on N30 not during lunchtime, we didn't march on the jail till December 3rd not December 2nd, and the Broadway and Pine Riots or as we locals call it the city sanctioned gay bashing wasn't started because of a cop flipping out but rather when a few people started shaking the police car with a cop in it...they don't bring up the fact that in the mornings people came downtown with coffee for police and brooms to clean up the mess...they don't talk about the peaceful protest that stayed on the sidewalk in response to said Broadway riots...and they didn't talk about how people were boxed in at 2 am when bars close infront of 3 packed bars. for a movie yeah its a good watch but for a look at the Battle In Seattle they could have done better in getting their facts right
15 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hopeless Screenplay Ruins This Dismal Movie
evanston_dad6 May 2009
This lame film sets a terribly-written fictional narrative against the backdrop of the 1999 riots in Seattle that occurred during the meeting of the World Trade Organization. Director Stuart Townsend, who is also responsible for the juvenile screenplay, concocts ridiculous and melodramatic situations out of a scenario that already had enough dramatic heft of its own without embellishment.

Townsend creates a group of stock characters that includes the beleaguered Seattle mayor (Ray Liotta); a couple of protesters (Martin Henderson and Michelle Rodriquez) whom the screenplay forces into an awkward and unnecessary romance; a reporter (Connie Nielsen) who actually joins the protesters(!) after she witnesses some police brutality (I'm not making this up); and a police officer (Woody Harrelson) and his pregnant wife (Charlize Theron) whose lives are altered dramatically by the events of those few days. These actors are put into narrative situations that a 16-year-old would come up with if he were asked to jot down a bunch of scenarios that he thought would have a dramatic impact on his audience. Therefore, everything is hokey and maudlin to the extreme. The story line involving Theron, in particular, actually made me angry because of its cheap tactics.

A straight-up documentary about the WTO riots would be far more worth your time than this film. Hell, your time would be better spent watching "Dumb and Dumber."

Grade: D
31 out of 54 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Decent blend of fact and fiction
em3ddkim27 September 2008
There are many that will dismiss this film as boring, lame or whatever and I myself was a bit dubious as a Seattle native and somebody that worked downtown during the riots. However, after seeing "Battle in Seattle" last night in Los Angeles, I must say that I really enjoyed it. Working within the reality of the film business (the need of star power, dramatization, distribution and financing) I thought Stuart Townsend did a great job of telling a fictional story about people within the historical context of the WTO Seattle Ministerial. He was also able to connect the film to what is happening today through some factual statements in the prologue and epilogue that reminded the audience that the WTO is still a presence in everybody's lives (whether they know it or not). The film's website also exists to educate viewers on the WTO. There were a lot of subtle details that I remember from that week that he included that I was able to appreciate (especially the Pine/Broadway riot which I was an observer of from the Bauahus Cafe on Pine). Stuart Townsend, Charlize Theron and Martin Henderson were also at the screening and talked for about 30 minutes about the film.

Stuart said that he was not trying to make a documentary about the WTO (since three already existed, one of which I've already seen ("30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle") and wanted to make a film about people. Overall, I think he did a great job. The only minor, personal beef I had was the casting of Tzi Ma as Governor Locke. Locke does not speak with any trace of an accent and hearing Ma ranting on screen with a slight accent was just weird for me (being very familiar with Gary Locke...but nobody else will even bat an eye). A lot of people complained that the entire film wasn't filmed in Seattle, but that was the reality of financing. He mentioned that if he had to film in Vancouver to get the film made, so be it. Most of the key scenes/landmarks were shot in Seattle so you never really lost track of the Seattle vibe (believe me, I recognized every landmark on screen). Stuart mentioned that he learned a lot about the film making industry (from the point of a first time director) and how brutal it can be.

The WTO is obviously a topic most of Hollywood would not touch with a 10 foot pole. He also said that of the six or so years he spent on the project, only 29 days were actual filming days with the rest spent on research, production, editing etc. I have to give a lot of credit to Stuart for tackling this topic and seeing it to completion and fighting for distribution. It would be the equivalent of me trying to make a film around the Inniskillin Bombing which I do not remember when it happened back in 1987, but have heard of. I was able to shake Stuart's hand afterward and he was a very cool guy and tried to talk to everybody even as his publicist tried to drag him away after the screening.
23 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Battle for the contents of my stomach
5lbcheese13 September 2008
The protests against the WTO meeting in Seattle were something big and something not to be ignored. And the WTO screws over poor countries and promotes global inequality. More people need to know this. But not by watching Battle In Seattle. I'm about as liberal as they come, but this movie is pure dreck. Heavy handed in every respect from the writing to the directing to the editing. The things people say to each other are so wildly unlike actual speech. It's a shame this isn't a documentary. The only thing worth seeing in this film is the actual footage that's interspersed throughout. And even that is tainted by the noxious gas that is this movie.
20 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Appalling waste of space
hendry-robert17 January 2011
I had never heard of this movie until it came on the TV the other day. It would have been better if it had remained that way.

You don't get real idea of what the protesters were protesting about. Very much like the real protesters who were a mish mash of anarchists, drop-outs, ravers/party goers, manic depressives, attention seekers, show offs, chancers, and total dreamers. None of whom have any idea of reality because they cannot use logical thought processes.

Anyway, Charlize Theron spends most of the movie crying in bed ignoring her husband Woody Harrleson who plays one of the riot police officers. I had high hopes for Theron when I first saw her years ago but she sure knows how to pick bad scripts and I do think her career is suffering from it. Woody (like Theron) will have been drawn to the project because of his environmental background and on paper he must have thought it would be a good move to accept the role. He, and Theron are both lucky the movie didn't finish their careers off. Ray Liotta plays the Seattle Mayor. The Mayor seems like a decent trusting guy but is essentially betrayed by the protesters rampage. Liottas performance, as well as Theron and Harrleson were mediocre at best. I don't blame them though. Clearly the director has absolutely no idea how to coax a performance from actors and if I were to hedge a bet I would say the director was personally caught up (emotionally) due to his obvious political views. Nothing wrong with putting your case forward in a movie, but you have to do it right and provoke a reaction from the audience, make them think. This completely fails to do that. The man completely forgot he was making a movie and like most extreme leftists the idea is always better than the reality.

As you watch you will care nothing for any of the characters in the movie. Your constantly hoping something will happen, it never does because quite frankly very little actually happened in Seattle over those few days. A few protesters running around smashing windows will not give anyone the ammunition to make a full 90 minute movie.

Its quite telling that since the movies release two years ago it only has around 40 reviews on IMDb. Just goes to show that no one, not even the protesters give a damn about this movie. They are probably to embarrassed.

The favourable reviews of which there are far to many can only be from a few dreamers and those with an agenda. But seriously, pay them no attention because this is a really bad movie no matter what side of the political spectrum you come from.

Avoid at all costs.
19 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Don't waste your time or money
theqom30 April 2011
If you like one sided propaganda you'll love this movie. Otherwise don't waste your time. Overall it just wasn't a very good movie.

I watched this movie since it cost 99c to buy and because it was set in Seattle where I used to live. However the premise for the movie seemed to be to glorify protesters. I personally don't think "freedom of speech" is a justifiable excuse to break the law.

While it was fun to see the old sights of Seattle and to point out places I knew, it wasn't worth keeping. This movie found a new home in my trash can.

A far too politically motivated film to just be enjoyed.
14 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
if you're living in America, it would be advantageous to read this...
imizrahi200228 September 2008
i expected the polarized opinions this film received from some of the commentators here... there's one that said something about '10 years later/very little progress'. something about 'small steps'... but they're wrong. LARGE steps have been taken by the businesses. how many of you know about the limited access corridor being constructed from Mexico to canada through the midwest? a turnpike that will carry goods made outside of US to places nearby this route. the contract was given by bush's people to a very, very wealthy construction firm from spain. the owner is one of the richest men in the world. the materials used to build this turnpike will be shipped into Mexico ports and then dispersed where needed. probably using mostly non American labor.

now maybe some of you will understand part of the point of this movie. there IS no such thing as countries anymore. not with administrations such as the present one. it's big business interest. and if you're a big business the bush's will do business with you. witness the bin laden family, which have been 'buddies' with the bushes from 'way back'... witness grand daddy bush doing business with the Nazis as they began their quest for world cleansing and domination. all this is documented and accessible if you just do a little work looking for it... why not start with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur's(democrat/Ohio) explanation of the corridor on u tube? that'll help make believers out of the skeptics. this isn't some 'quack' with a conspiracy theory.

my location is listed as netherlands. i left the US b/c i don't like what the people in control are doing and this is my way of protest. not paying them with my tax dollars. each of us have to find a way to react to this piecemeal sale of the US...hopefully non violent no matter what the response... the people with the money do, after all, control the militaries. and not just the American one. or you can just not believe...not do ANYthing and be surprised at what transpires... no review of a movie will MAKE you do anything. that's up to you. good luck.

ps remember how easy it would be to check this out. as easy as it was to 'get HERE', internetwise...
9 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Decent Message, TERRIBLE MOVIE
knyovolunteer19 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was REALLY TERRIBLY written - terrible in terms of plot, characterization and dialogue, among other things. It's so bad that even a gripping true story of mass human conflict and political protest, decent directing, amazing archival protest footage, and the attempts of Woody Harrelson, Ray Liotta, Charlize Theron, and Andre from Outkast couldn't save it. Woody nearly saves his character and turns him into perhaps the most interesting human character in the movie - and he's a friggin' riot cop! The rest of the poor actors just can't pull it off. The man and woman who are the supposed main characters are a joke -- badly written, plotted in a way that makes no sense, acted poorly and woodenly, clichéd, utterly un-interesting and un-sympathetic - it seems like the film makers thought the fact that they were white and the man had a strong chin and the woman had big breasts would somehow carry them through.

It's truly, truly unfortunate, since the makers of the film clearly wanted to tell a complex story about one particularly important event of unrest in the process of human social change and evolution that I lived through and still find important even though I have little interest in reliving and recreating it. They wanted to show people coming to a better understanding and empowerment in their shared humanity through the outcome of mass protests against inhumane international trade policies on the streets of Seattle. But they made some awful mistakes. As others have pointed out, they'd likely have been much better off making a straight documentary - or doing much MUCH better research about what really happened in Seattle, and from that writing a drama that actually had believable characters acting in realistic ways and saying things real people would say.

Hopefully next time they'll find a way to send a message of hope and change in a way that is aesthetically appealing enough to get out to more people.
9 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I recognize myself and others
GethinVanH30 September 2008
This is the 1999 WTO conference in a fictionalized format. It's not totally necessary, there are a half-dozen documentaries about the protests in Seattle in 1999. It seems a lot of the content from this movie was directly lifted from the documentary "This is What Democracy Looks Like". There are shots which have been recreated and even quotations by some of the protesters. One for instance is when one of the pro-environment protesters compares the crowds to people coming out of nowhere "like in the Michael Jackson 'Thriller' video" Yet this is a good movie with some wonderful acting. Harrelson and Liota stand out in their roles as a riot cop and the mayor of Seattle. Although I was most struck by Martin Henderson as Jay, a protest organizer whose brother was killed in a forestry protest and has two strikes against him and could spend a long time in jail if he gets arrested again. Having been to protests in Seattle and in Ottawa against globalization I recognized his character as a common person we see in this movement. The romantic plot line with another protester did almost feel forced at times. It wasn't necessary but for the most part this movie wasn't necessary.

If the movie accomplishes anything I hope it will bring younger people who were too young to be politically aware at that time into the fold and fight against corporate and state tyranny.

The movie definitely captured the feeling of these anti-globalization protests and how they represented a multitude of voices from environmentalism to labour leaders. I just wish they had focused more on the anarchists who seemed to be the only ones to get the short end of the stick in this movie. Why not show their story and who they are? Are hippie leftist protesters more interesting. Perhaps next time when someone makes a movie out of the 2001 protests against the FTAA in Quebec City. Battaille en Québec.
13 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good Film: Good Summary of Complex Event
willmorei27 October 2008
I was present at the WTO talks in Seattle, as the accredited media officer of an international NGO network. I was therefore at various times both in the main talks building and out on the street.

Before this film was made I was sceptical about whether a Hollywood movie could capture the essence of this important but complex event. In fact, I think it does a good job.

It shows clearly that although a small minority of demonstrators committed significant acts of violence against property, most of the so-called "riot" was the consequence of attempts by the police to clear protesters off the streets. It also shows the work of critics of the WTO in meetings and debates inside the talks. It captures much of the basic case against a "free trade" WTO that disregarded environmental, social and labour considerations and tried to impose the economic hegemony of rich countries on the developing world.

If I have a criticism it is that it is too focused on the (powerful and impressive) street protests and not enough on the solidarity of developing country delegates in refusing to accept a biased settlement imposed by the developed world. That was the single greatest achievement of the Battle in Seattle and the one with the most lasting impact.

By the way, when I was chucked out of the talks I was told that my revoked security pass was the "property of the Corporation", which I gather was the local business coalition dominated by Microsoft and Boeing. Told me all I needed to know.

See this movie if you want to understand where the "anti-globalisation" movement really kicked off and the messy but important case it was trying to make.
9 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Rough Draft of What Should Have Been a Great Film
samdiener17 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I just finished watching the Battle in Seattle feature film. I wanted to like it more than I did. I was aware of David Solnit's (one of the Direct Action Network's organizers) concerns about it (see for a summary, an interview with the director and Solnit at, and a participatory historical website at, before I started watching.

The film had a great, dramatic, even potentially epic, subject, and a noble idea to tell the story from multiple points of view. I applaud its ambition and I'm glad I saw it. The mini-film essay by Stuart Townsend, labeled "The Making of the Battle of Seattle" (included on the DVD) is actually quite great describing the film Townsend wanted to make. He wanted to make a film fictionalizing and personalizing, through the eyes of multiple characters, the struggles that converged in Seattle during the WTO conference. It's an ambitious goal, and Townsend deserves praise for attempting it.

Unfortunately, however, Townsend didn't succeed in making that movie. There are so many characters that they got lost in the cross-cutting, and remained schematic and two- dimensional. The film doesn't portray the activists either as full-blooded people nor does it at all accurately portray the organizational structures used. It refers to affinity groups a couple of times, but fails to actually show any actually discussing anything.

The scenes outside the jail at the solidarity rallies for those inside come alive, but inside the jail, instead of a hubbub of discussions, debates, singing, and workshops, Townsend repeatedly portrays a group of silent, sullen, defeated arrestees. The exception is Django, an upbeat African-American pro-turtle activist, who gets one of the best moments in the film when, trying to cheer everyone else up, he says that now everyone will know what the WTO is, but then instantly amends that claim to say, "Well, they probably won't know what it is. But they'll know it's something bad."

The attempts at portraying a budding romance between two apparently heterosexual activists is not written well enough to be at all believable. And, to mention just one of potentially many political concerns, there were no gays or lesbians in Seattle protesting?

And we're supposed to believe that a cop whose pregnant lover has just been attacked by a police officer, mistaking her for a protester, and causing her to miscarry, is going to take out his anger by chasing a lone demonstrator (a key organizer, of course), and personally beat him bloody? And then the same police officer is going to enter the jail and apologize for doing it?

There's two ciphers of character who could potentially have been quite fascinating, a Doctors Without Borders activist (who gets one good moment when he asks the trade representatives how they'd feel if their children were the ones who were going to die because they couldn't afford medicines because of the policies they were making) who is trying to pressure the WTO from within, and a trade minister from an un-named African country. But we never see them as anything but cardboard stand-ins for a position, never see them struggling with a decision, and never hear them articulate any kind of point of view about the protests and the impact they are having.

The direction at times was quite good, but I'm not sure it was such a good idea to mix in the real footage because the real footage is so much more dramatic and powerful than the fictional, watching it just made me wish I were watching a documentary instead of a docudrama. Townsend, in his "Making Of" segment, voices the hope that the film will motivate folks to want to learn more. The movie has motivated me to want to watch "This is What Democracy Looks Like" ( and "30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle" (, so at least to that extent, the Battle in Seattle succeeded.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Can only appeal to people on the left
the___force29 September 2009
If you like socialism, this is the movie for you; a boring exercise in leftist propaganda. A badly acted, badly made movie that will only appeal to people who actually support these nonsensical protests against capitalism.

What's so annoying about these pseudo-documentaries is that they are so in line with the politics of Hollywood. Who, when they read the description of this movie, did not immediately realize that it is just another propaganda piece by the elites in Hollywood, designed to propagate their personal political agenda.

I thought art was about being radical, not about blind conformity to the prevailing philosophy of the time. Will we ever have a mainstream movie about an abortion protest?Never. That would be TRULY radical. When are the people on the left going to realize that they are no longer counter-cultural? Their ideas are boring and non-compelling, which is why movies like this never succeed in spreading their ideology. Let's move on.
13 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Lots of Plants
ThrowmeaBeer10 April 2008
I don't think I have ever seen this many plants since the garden section over at Home Depot. I saw the movie. It was like this guy saw Sunday Bloody Sunday and was like, you know, I like your style Mr. Greengrass... I'm going to do my best to copy it but my best is like comparing your Bourne movie to Degrassi The New Class. Besides the obvious signs that this movie was bad... Not even Hollywood would touch this movie. He had to come up to Canada. It's not like Hollywood didn't like the idea, the script was horrible. I mean the dialogue in the movie was awful. But oh well, we Canadians don't mind making bad movies, just pay us. Then this movie was mad what, 2006 I hear... It's 2008 and it's still not out in the main stream theaters. I caught this at the ol' SXSW fest... I mean yeah, some movies take up to five years to make... but those are movies like Toy Story and Nemo. So I am guessing that because people sunk some money in this crap shoot, they are trying to get the ol' word of mouth via message boards... if you check the forums mostly everyone hates it. However the review board has nothing but praise even one saying it was genius or Oscar worthy. ROFL.
21 out of 65 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Unbelievably Well Made and Directed
ascentreleasing13 December 2013
Literally one of the best films made dealing with a multi-character story arc, and multiple themes. The acting is phenomenal, and the direction of the crowd scenes superb. Astounding to see any negative reviews on this one except for people who only watch comic book movies. Really stunning. I cannot believe how we'll directed it is. Bravo to all those involved. This subject is difficult to execute, no question. Also, conveying both sides of the battle..all sides...also must have been a challenge. Compared to the horrible films out there, how can anyone hate how this was conveyed? Please watch this if you can. Well worth it.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Disgusting work of fiction
JodyKibler29 April 2012
Some people on here say it was fictional characters used for legal reasons. That is B.S. They used fictional characters to make a fictional movie. They made it seem that a Officer's wife attacked by police was real. They made it look like the violence was committed by undercover police officer's. They made it look like an Officer can't call out sick. In all honesty an Officer can call out sick no matter what is happening. This film is shot completely as a pro activist standpoint, not a true standpoint. The shameful situation is some people are too dumb to realize this is a work of fiction. You should be ashamed.
5 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is a very good film
stodruza20 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
What a surprise that there are actually people interested in making films like this. I must question, however, as the head activist did in the film, what these activists actually accomplished? I believe it is better to work with one's brains than actually provoke such direct antagonism in order to achieve the goals which this film so proudly and courageously professes. A general strike would be the vehicle to get people's attention, but I am not sure that these are the kind of groups with so much hatred which would attract a general demographic. They should try to become calm and rethink their long term strategy. The correct overview of the ensuing five years of the convention at the end of the film points to the fact that no significant gains were made.

That, and work with young people, not old, to get them thinking and about and acting on the problems of our world. It would be great if they could be reached before high school, but most probably in high school and college is where the ideological education must be perused. All in all a very good film which does make people feel as well as think.
5 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I love Seattle
fablesofthereconstru-114 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Is the cop's wife "guilty of being white" like D.C. punk Ian McKaye once proclaimed as frontman of the hardcore band Minor Threat? More to the point, is Ella(Charlize Theron) guilty of being American? Born into a consumer culture and raised on oblivion, Ella's hermetically sealed world of ruined Brazilian vacation plans and other middle-class related angst is shattered like that display window in the department store she shops at for baby clothes. The self-righteous rabble-rouser admonishes Ella for alienating herself from the world at-large; he lambastes the pregnant woman because she doesn't see the bigger picture: i.e. the children in third world sweat-shops who will clothe her second trimester fetus for life. Without that transparent safeguard for protection, Ella asks her equally apolitical friend, "What the hell is going on out there?" as she is no longer able to live in blissful ignorance. Instead of engaging with the body politic of WTO protesters, however, her ignorance refashions itself as arrogance, since the cop's wife continues to abide by the status quo. Back at work, Ella's boss sends his employees home when a bloodied political dissenter staggers into his store. Out on the streets, unable to hail a taxi or catch a bus, Ella is peeved, since now, finally, the riot has a tangible effect on her life; she can't get home. While chaos prevails, Ella ignores the teeming masses and squeezes her way through huddled congregations without the least bit of curiosity. The political charge has no cling. Ella of "Battle in Seattle", far from being a subordinate character, might be its most important, as the filmmaker places the American woman in a dialectical relationship with a delegate from the African caucus.

"Battle in Seattle" is too diffuse by half were its agenda to portray political activism as an effective weapon of discourse to use against the WTO's unwritten and almost sociopathic policy to miscarry justice, in the name of profit over people. Peter Greengrass' "Bloody Sunday" immediately springs to mind as an exemplary film about an insurgency, as the 2002 film about the British army's attack on Catholic marchers at a non-violent civil rights demonstration in Ireland, focused solely on the Gaelic hippies. Conversely, this filmmaker undermines his supposed attempt to present civic disobedience in a positive light, every time it's the mayor's turn in the film's multi-narrative approach. An inference is made by showing how incompetent Jim Tobin(Ray Liotta) was in preparing for the WTO conference; the inference being that maintaing order should always be the main objective, in which shrewder administrative decisions would have resulted in a vacuum of people on the immediate city blocks and well-attended symposiums. Contrary to the film's subjective approach towards the anarchy in Seattle, a riot is sometimes necessary, especially in this case, as a means of alerting the politically uninformed(Ella, for example) about the carte blanche style of the ruling parties(who maintain their hegemony over the third world countries by the will of their bigger GNPs) in the WTO. In plain sight, the third world caucus gets the shaft when Abassi(Issache De Bankole) is informed by a WTO official that their interpreters are being yanked for matters more pressing than medicine reaching the populations of underdeveloped countries. Interrelated to millions of transoceanic lives is one American life, in the film's overruling scene, where Ella, an innocent bystander, seemingly, absorbs a blow to the stomach, delivered by a policeman's club. At first glance, the baby seems like a sacrifice, a punishment for Ella's disinterest with Abassi's main concern, but as it turns out, the cop's wife is neither guilty of being white nor American. In another overruling scene, Abassi, distraught over the treatment he and his delegates receive from the governing body, walks to a window and draws inspiration from the crowd gathered outside, a largely stateside one. In a sense, Abassi's activism is colonized by America. Even though Ella's miscarriage can be summed up as a karmic convergence, due to her apathetic stance towards global matters, the film's diffuse approach allows Ella's tragedy to superimpose itself over Africa's loss, therefore putting "Battle in Seattle" in perfect harmony with the mindset of the great nations, in which the film, like the WTO, handles third world concerns as if they had less value than first world ones.
5 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The consequences of mob rule are never positive.
robinakaaly15 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This was a serious and intelligent, if incredibly depressing, film about the anti-WTO protests in Seattle in November 1999, and how they affected some of the participants, on all sides of the barriers. The film mixed archive footage of the massive demonstrations, with modern reconstruction around the various story lines: several professional protesters and their reactions to the violence they were unwittingly (but not unforeseeably) responsible for, the civic and police authorities confronted with overwhelmingly hostile demonstrators out to break the law, the policeman on the front line whose pregnant wife, inadvertently gets caught up in the riot, is beaten by a passing policeman and loses her baby, the professional demonstrator bent on wilfully damaging property, the camera crew who go from being neutral to siding with the protesters as the civic response gets tough. The start of the film portrays the WTO as being some shadow organisation devoted to making the rich richer and the poor poorer whilst raping the planet. As usual with protect movements, truth does not matter. The fact that the WTO is there to try and provide a framework for policing international trade, and what would the situation be like without it, are of no concern to the protesters: the WTO is bad and must be smashed. This is a self-evident truth, so ordinary people should get out of the way whilst those who "care" take the law into their own hands. When it comes to defeating what protesters do not like, the law does not come into it. The film also makes it clear that (a) the demonstrators have nothing positive to offer, and that as usual (b) they take no responsibility for the consequences of their actions. On this point, the protester's lawyer who should no better, has no realisation of what she is doing. Generally, all the people the film seeks sympathy for are the demonstrators, who by their own ignorance and irresponsible refusal to accept the democratic process, puts a heavy burden on those paying through taxes for their right to be stupid. To be fair, the response to the demonstrations was affected by political rather than practical considerations of crowd control leading to ugly confrontations and use of force, but this was not the fault of the police.

This is the sort of film which should provoke debate, but sadly, from the evidence of the demonstrators, their only response is to shout slogans and cry foul as they have nothing else.

Here endeth the lesson.
3 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed